Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English swelen, from Old English swelan (to burn, be burnt up, inflame, st vb) (compare Old English swǣlan (to burn, wk vb)), from Proto-Germanic *swelaną (to smoulder, burn slowly, create a burningly cold sensation), from Proto-Indo-European *swel- (to shine, warm, smoulder, burn). Cognate with Dutch zwelen (to smoulder), Low German swelen (to smoulder), German schwelen (to smoulder), Icelandic svala (to cool). Related to swelter.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /swiːl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːl


sweal (third-person singular simple present sweals, present participle swealing, simple past and past participle swealed)

  1. (intransitive) To burn slowly.
  2. (intransitive) To melt and run down, as the tallow of a candle; waste away without feeding the flame.
  3. (transitive) To singe; scorch; dress (as a hog) with burning or singeing.
  4. (transitive, dialectal) To consume with fire; burn.
  5. (transitive, dialectal) To make disappear; cause to waste away; diminish; reduce.